‘My loyal customers and staff are the ones that keep me here’

Ian Henry cuts the hair of Jim Eyton (42). Ian has been a barber for 50 years
Ian Henry cuts the hair of Jim Eyton (42). Ian has been a barber for 50 years
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HE’S performed tens of thousands of haircuts and seen scores of different trends in his career.

Now veteran barber Ian Henry has clocked up an amazing 50 years behind the chair.

But the 68-year-old, who runs Ian Henry barbershop, in Cosham, says he’s not yet ready to hang up his scissors.

‘My loyal customers and the four ladies that work with me are the ones that keep me going,’ he said.

‘I absolutely love my job – there’s nothing else I would rather be doing.

‘In what other place of work would I be able to meet so many different people?

‘I get top surgeons from Queen Alexandra Hospital and people of all nationalities.

‘I couldn’t hazard a guess as to how many haircuts I’ve done – but it’s got to be in the tens of thousands.’

Mr Henry, of Portchester, learnt his craft as an apprentice at a former barbershop in Portsmouth in 1959.

Three years later he became a junior hairdresser at the Cosham premises which he later took over in 1980.

Mr Henry says trade was at its worst when men began sporting long, Kevin Keegan-style haircuts during the 1970s.

‘It was quite a worrying time,’ he says.

‘Obviously people weren’t having their hair cut and the ones that were wanted to have it done like a lady would.

‘By the end of the decade I was working in one of the only barbers left in Cosham.

‘Fortunately I learnt how to cut women’s hair so we survived.’

Mr Henry’s favourite haircut is a flat-top – which is short on the sides and straight on top.

‘I’ve performed so many of those haircuts – it just looks cool,’ he said.

‘It reminds me of a helicopter landing strip.

‘Long hair is the fashion again now but I’m finding that a lot of people are coming in now asking for an Elvis quiff.’

And despite his age Mr Henry isn’t planning to retire anytime soon.

Even on his days off Mr Henry is thinking about what’s going on in his barbershop.

‘It gets to the middle of the day and my wife says to me; “you look bored”.

‘I just love talking and being around people.’

Bev Steele, 49, who has been a hairdresser at Ian Henry barbershop for the past 13 years, said she had the perfect boss.

‘He’s the best boss ever – I couldn’t ask for anyone better,’ she said.

‘Mr Henry is a great character and pretty much everyone in Cosham knows who he is.

‘It’s still amazing to think that he has been around for 50 years though.

‘The shop is established in the area and our prices are very good.

‘The whole team gets on really well.’